I have just finished reading through Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles (a children’s fantasy series) which I thoroughly enjoyed. It would not rank in my mind as high as Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia or L’engle’s Time Quartet, but nevertheless, a wonderful and thought provoking little collection. The books trace through the young life and adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper. Taran is orphaned and does not know his familial story, but he is ‘raised’ by the kind enchanter, Dallben of Prydain. Through the stories, Taran makes dear friends in nearby lands, he learns about war and peace, he discovers what it means to make honorable choices in the face of temptation, and he finds out who he is and what he’s made for through unexpected circumstances and unanswered questions.
I could not help but see myself (and many other twentysomethings and thirtysomethings I know) in these tales, particularly book 4, Taran Wanderer, which is the story of Taran’s journey to learn who his parents are. Meanwhile, Taran faces all kinds of adversity, trials, setbacks, and doubts. He realizes that as a boy with no known parentage, he has longed deeply to be part of a noble family and that he has feared that he would discover that he is of no station in life. In his heart and mind, recognition of stature has meant more to him up until this point than living a lifestyle of honor and nobility, even though he has been walking that road to grow in depth of character. After trying many different trades, he presses on, still uncertain of what he’s made for and who he is meant to be, but there is a flicker of hope that he’s drawing closer to whatever and whoever that might be.
While I read along, I thought how much that he already was becoming who he was supposed to be and that he had been granted smaller opportunities to demonstrate the talents and responsibilities that would one day serve him as a great leader and defender of Prydain. Yet, I wondered what would become of Taran and where Alexander saw him headed. I won’t give that part of the story away, in case you wish to read the stories one day. 🙂
I pray that twentysomethings and thirtysomethings seek God fervently as they also often experiment with jobs and go to school, feeling around, sometimes seemingly in the dark, for who they are and what they have been made for. As Christians, we know we are made in His image, sons and daughters of the High King, and created to carry out the tasks He’s prepared for us in advance.
On the day-to-day level, we can find ourselves searching for what exactly that means today and tomorrow. In some way, my heart was encouraged by these stories because it reminded me that as we are in Christ, He knows our story, our families, the strengths and weaknesses that come with our parentage, our personalities and temperaments, the things He’s allowed to test us as well as the victories we’ve had along the way.
May our trust in Him be built strong as we seek to walk in His ways.